Thursday, April 3, 2008

Study of iPhone Users Reveals Interesting Habits of Apple Customers

iPhone users are happy with their gadget, use email as the top feature, but are upset at how some of the websites the phone fails to display, a new study has found. Find out why iPhone users are young technophiles with money to burn.

Digital Journal — Ten months after the release of Apple’s iPhone, a consulting company has released data on consumers who bought the much-hyped phone. A new study by Rubicon Consulting reveals several interesting tidbits about today’s iPhone users: they’re young, rich, and taking advantage of mobile email. Also, AT&T should be smiling wide these days – the study estimates the iPhone has increased the company’s gross service revenue by about $2 billion per year.

If you wanted to paint a complete portrait of the iPhone user, just pore through the 35 pages Rubicon compiled after interviewing 460 iPhone owners in the U.S. How would we describe typical iPhoners?

They’re young, with half of them under 30 and close to 15 per cent calling themselves students. They are also technologically sophisticated — only 1 per cent of respondents described themselves as a “Technology novice.”

There’s a price to pay for early adoption. The iPhone has increased a user’s monthly cellphone bills by an average of 24 per cent, or $228 extra per year. So is it more money, more problems? Or the opposite?

Close to 80 per cent of iPhone customers said they are very satisfied with their product. What gave them the grins? The music and touch-interface features pleased users the most, while battery life and wireless speed were not ranked high in the satisfaction score.

Reading email is common practice for 72 per cent of respondents. But the authors of the study note:

It's not at all surprising that the iPhone is used less often for composing email than
reading it, since the device lacks a physical keyboard.

And although iPhone users say their mobile browsing habits have increased since buying the unit, 40 per cent of them say they had trouble viewing some websites on the display. The authors once again chime in with their insight, saying, “This is not surprising, considering that the iPhone browser does not currently support Adobe Flash, which is used in many websites for animation and user interface.”

It looks like the iPhone packs a serious punch — a quarter of iPhone users carry it with them instead of a notebook computer. And half of the iPhones replaced conventional mobile phones.

Apple is selling to its subscriber base, the survey found: at least three-quarters of U.S. iPhone users are previous Apple customers. Apple is doing everything right by branching into a new market, the study said, adding:
The lesson for other companies is that satisfying customers is about a lot more than just selling them upgrades of what they have today. Managed properly, a loyal user base is also a springboard for creating new businesses.

Finally, the Rubicon study offered several suggestions to Apple. Most importantly, improving the iPhone browser should be a top priority, even though Apple and Adobe are fighting over how Flash can be implemented into the phone. The authors warn, “Until and unless Flash becomes available on the iPhone, another mobile company might be able to steal away iPhone customers by creating a better browsing device.”

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu predicted Apple will sell 11 million phones by the end of 2008.


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